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Rosie Galligan: England international on breast reduction surgery

Rosie Galligan touching hands with a fan on the walk into a game


Breast reduction surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic and takes around two to three hours. It involves removing excess fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breast, then moving the nipple to its new position before reshaping the breast.

Some parents may be reluctant to see their daughter go through such a procedure but Galligan’s mum Holly had undergone a reduction herself, which Galligan said made her decision to go ahead with the surgery easier.

Recovery from the operation took six weeks, with Galligan then flying to Canada on tour with the England under-20 side.

“My first run post-surgery felt so light, like I could jump and actually move my body,” she said. “I genuinely felt like I was a new person. Just being able to wear one bra I could stand taller and was as light as a feather.”

But she was not fully open with her coaches about the surgery because of the taboos of the subject, something she now regrets .

“You’re meant to build yourself back into it gradually but I didn’t feel I had that time,” she said. “I thought I’d be fit to go play international rugby again but I did my back in in the first scrum because I hadn’t prepared my body for the demands of rugby.

“I could have been more open with the staff and allowed them to help me.”

Galligan, now 26, says it was only when watching a documentary earlier this year that showed exactly what happens during a reduction surgery that she realised how complex the procedure is.

“Seeing it actually happen on TV, I was like ‘whoa, this is actually a mega surgery’,” she said.

“I didn’t realise how much my body had been through in order to get to where I am now. It isn’t a little surgery, so much happens in order for them to be able to do it.”



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